The conversation surrounding Lululemon’s possible fat shaming has a lot of women talking if the retweets, favorites, comments, and shares of the many articles covering the topic are any indication. These days it seems like the focus of the conversation surrounding the plus size community has turned from health and wellness (thank goodness) to ‘Why can’t I find cute clothes?’. This line of thinking troubles me because I feel like we’re collectively taking the easy way out.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for sexy bras that are as beautiful as anything that you’d find at Journelle (swoon), but there are great options out there. I believe in being proactive, putting your money where your mouth is, and working to find a solution instead of being part of the problem. Speaking from experience, most of these brands that are oblivious to the financial opportunity presented by the plus size community are run by old, white men who have no interest in changing their point of view because they can’t see beyond the end of their nose.
We keep trying to gain acceptance and understanding from executives, brands, and retailers who have no interest in bringing our community into the fold. If Target, for example, wanted to include plus sizes in the collections produced by their designer collaborations, they would. Because we as a community have the power, whether fashion realizes it or not, to initiate change, I recommend we take a few proactive steps:
1: Put your money where your mouth is.
- I know what you’re thinking – ‘This is easier said than done!’, but it is the fastest and simplest route to a solution. A plus size brand that I once worked for believed that plus size women were not willing to spend money on themselves and would therefore only purchase cheap, shapeless garments because that is what we thought that we deserved. We’re talking awkward Wal-Mart baggy tees with Donald Duck on them. You know the ones that I’m talking about. I know that money is tight for all of us, but if we make an effort to budget and make a statement by supporting brands who support us, we can impact change.
- Conversely, don’t support brands who don’t support you. If they don’t want to see you in there store, throw your cash around somewhere that does.
2: Speak up!
- If you like what a brand is providing for you, tell them! Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and make sure that your opinion is recognized. These days, brands do all sorts of digital research before making key business decisions, including evaluating the social channels of would-be competitors. If you don’t feel comfortable declaring your appreciation publicly, drop them an email through their website. These types of love notes get circulated internally and are a great motivation for the employees.
3: Dig a little deeper
- Think that Old Navy, Torrid, Nordstrom and Lane Bryant are the only places that you can shop? These big retailers have made great strides in recent years, but they don’t always provide more trend-driven styles that a lot of women look for. Do some Google research or join some plus size communities. Follow the hashtag on Twitter. Search for designers of custom pieces on Etsy who will accommodate larger sizes. I always like to say that especially in our niche community, the success of one is a success for all, so support and celebrate!
Do you feel like it is difficult to find the basics and trends that you’re looking for with current plus specific retailers or do you wish that stores that cater to straight sizes would widen their offering?